Posts by Sarah
Contemporary artist Maggi Hambling visited Liverpool today, to give ‘Good Time George’ – her painting of her close friend and Liverpudlian George Melly – to the Walker Art Gallery.
George was the most colourful son of Liverpool: jazz performer, surrealist, comic, raconteur, critic and author, often referred to fondly as ‘Good Time George’.
Today we have a guest blog by Peter Banasko. He is writing about his father, also called Peter Banasko – a Liverpool lad who became a world-class boxer and was asked to fight before the Prince of Wales, Prince George and Lord Lonsdale. He later became an incredibly successful coach and manager. However, Peter also grew up during the era of the Colour Bar and this blog highlights the prejudices he faced. It is a fascinating local and community history and we wanted to run it during Black History Month. With thanks to the Banasko family for submitting it to us:
Peter Emmanuel Banasko 1915-1993
“Peter Banasko was born and grew up in Liverpool. He was the only child of a mixed marriage. His father, Isaac Immanuel Banasko came from the Gold Coast, Ghana. His mother Lillian Banasko, nee Doyle, came from Liverpool.
“He was named in the birthday celebration of 800 people who put Liverpool on the map. (Liverpool Echo 28/08/2007)
“He attended St. Malachy’s School and started his amateur boxing in 1929 at the famous St. Malachy’s boxing gym. By the time he was 14 he had participated in over 100 fights. At the age of 13, having over 40 undefeated contests to his credit, he claimed the distinction of being the first Liverpool boxer to bring home to Liverpool a British Title by becoming the schoolboy champion of Great Britain in 1929 and again in 1930.
“He was invited to box before the Prince of Wales, Prince George and Lord Lonsdale.
“At 17 he turned professional under the management of the Liverpool Stadium Promoter, Johnny Best Senior.
“Some said he was the best of the best but unfortunately for Banasko he fought during the era of the infamous ‘Colour Bar’ that forbade any non-white fighter from contesting for a national title. Again this vicious prejudice was evidenced in his marriage to Margaret McNerney, a Liverpool girl. A 300 signature petition was actioned to try and stop this marriage; it was unsuccessful.
“He was the first black manager/trainer in Liverpool, indeed in the UK. He was a friend of Douglas Collister (United Africa Co.) and also Jack Farnsworth (British West Africa CO). Because of this by the early 1950s Banasko and Liverpool were a household names in Lagos.
“His reputation as an excellent manager spread to the Gold Coast.
“According to the boxing purists at that time the black boxers fought in a distinct ‘unscientific’ style; they failed to master ‘the noble art’. However, their performances in the ring soon shattered these stereotypes. Banasko was a contributing factor in this change of opinion. When opposing boxers where facing the ‘Banasko camp’ it was not the boxer they feared but Banasko because of his knowledge and expertise.
“Banasko gained the rank of sergeant with the Royal Berkshire Regiment. His request for a commission was turned down. He was advised he would stand a better chance of a commission if he joined the Indian Army!
“This prejudice came up again when Hogan Kid Bassey won the British Empire Featherweight title. He told Banasko in the dressing room after the fight that he wanted a change of manager. Bassey had been convinced that he would not get any further in his career under a black manager. Banasko, disgusted with this prejudice and gutted by Bassey’s disloyalty, parted from the sport he loved.
“Ian Hargraves in his article in the Liverpool Echo (November 30th 1993) ‘Salute to boxing’s unsung hero’ on his death in November 1993 summed it up completely by stating:
Peter Banasko… a rare talent – one of the true greats’ “.
If you enjoyed this blog, you might be interested in our Black History Month events throughout October.
Have you seen the Timalle artwork in our Ink and blood; Stories of abolition exhibition yet? It features draft reparations forms and is a re-enactment, through sculpture and performance, of the enslavement process. It is the first time this piece of contemporary art has been displayed in Europe. Come and see it for yourself at the International Slavery Museum. Or you can also watch an extract of Timalle film, by Francois Piquet, and listen to him blogging about why he created his artwork, and what it means: Read more…
6 October 2017 by Sarah
This week’s blog is by Yazz Vanducci, Education Demonstrator at the Museum. It highlights our events for Black History Month, as well as updating you on what’s happening for families! –
“What a busy time it’s been for the team at the International Slavery Museum! Firstly, we celebrated Slavery Remembrance Day (our 18th one) on 23 August and now we are in Black History Month.
Before I mention what’s going on for Black History Month, I would like to tell you some the new and exciting projects our team have been working on.
These include new family sessions exploring African myths and legends where we look at the many different stories from all over Africa and then create some of the characters from the stories.
You can also come to our gallery and learn about the Underground Railroad and some of the heroic journeys that people undertook as well as the people themselves like Harriet Tubman and William and Ellen Craft. Read more…
2 August 2017 by Sarah
This Saturday (5 August), come and explore self-publishing as a creative method of activism in our free workshop on zine-making! Inspired by our Art of Solidarity exhibition, which closes this weekend. Here, Seleena Laverne Daye, who will be running the event, blogs about zines, identity and activism: Read more…
20 July 2017 by Sarah
How do you create a “choose-your-own-adventure” computer game about a hidden history that was conducted in secret, out of sight and under the cover of darkness? This task was explored by five remarkable students from Belvedere Academy as they created a series of scenarios, each with choices and consequences based upon the Underground Railroad, the code name for a network of secret routes, places and people that aided fugitives in the United States escape from Slave States to Free States.
14 February 2017 by Sarah
Mike Tyler is the collector and architect who owns the striking array of 32 Organisation in Solidarity with the People of Africa, Asia, and Latin America (OSPAAAL) posters currently on display in our Art of Solidarity exhibition. We asked Mike what he looks for when adding to the collection:
“The bulk of my collection dates from OSPAAAL’s founding in 1966 to the mid 70s, which is referred to as the ‘Golden Period’ of Cuban poster art. It is no coincidence this was a time of great political and social unrest with the civil rights movement, Vietnam War, Watergate scandal and struggles against apartheid all providing fuel to creative fire.
Many collectors are interested in the politics whilst some have an affinity with Cuba. For me, the appeal is their artistic merit, which has long been revered in the world of both propaganda art and graphic design. In terms of desirability, there is a big collectors market for civil rights and Black power material so these posters command the highest demand. Posters featuring Che, Nixon or the more well know conflicts such as the Vietnam War have a broader appeal. Then you have the more renowned artists such as Alfredo Rostgaard, Rene Menderos, Jesus Forjans & Faustino Perez who created some of the most iconic posters. Read more…
Mike Tyler is the architect and collector who owns the fantastic array of 32 posters currently on display in our Art of Solidarity exhibition. We asked Mike how and why he started collecting these Cuban posters, designed to support freedom movements around the world:
“I’m often asked why I started collecting Cuban posters and the truth is, it kind of just happened. As a visual person I’m drawn to design, graphics, photography, street art etc, so when I first stumbled across a batch of these posters, I could see they were something special. Read more…
5 December 2016 by Sarah
These images show some recent counterfeit goods from our collection. They may look like things you’d want to receive as a Christmas present, or buy for a gift – but don’t be fooled!
For every genuine item that exists there is a counterfeited replica, as soon as a ‘new’ item enters the market the counterfeiters are never far behind to cash in on the products that we desire. Counterfeiters have no limits; they span all industries including clothing, electronics and toiletries.
Counterfeit items constantly change to reflect contemporary trends so it’s important to us that these changes and trends are documented through our display cases and our handling collection. Read more…